What is the Ethiopian herb in coffee?

Unlike some herbs used in Western coffee traditions, tena’adam isn’t directly consumed in the beverage. Instead, small sprigs of the fresh herb accompany the coffee ceremony. As the green beans are roasted over an open flame, releasing their initial smoky fragrance, tena’adam sits patiently beside them. When the roasting reaches its peak, the tena’adam is often swirled in the hot air or even brushed over the hot coals. This releases the herb’s essential oils, which mingle with the coffee’s aroma, creating a complex and enticing fragrance that fills the air.

The aromatic contribution of tena’adam is significant. The herb boasts a citrusy and slightly peppery aroma, with some even detecting hints of mint or eucalyptus. These notes interweave with the rich, roasted coffee scent, adding a touch of brightness and freshness. This interplay of aromas sets the stage for the coffee tasting experience.